NEWSFLASH: A Recruiter is Not a Job Finder!

“You’re a recruiter… can you help me find a job?” / “You’re a recruiter… can I send you my resume?” / “You’re a recruiter… can we set up an interview?” 

I hear these questions each and every day. Whenever a friend loses a job or decides to make a change, I always get a call. My LinkedIn inbox is full of such messages. This post might come across as a little bit harsh, but I feel it’s time to dispel a common misconception.

A recruiter is not a job-finder.

In fact, there’s really no such thing as a professional job-finder. The closest thing might be resume writers, career advisors, career counselors, life coaches, or outplacement service professionals but they’re not really job-finders. They might do things as part of their duties that help you find your next job, but it’s not their job to find you a job. Make sense?

PEOPLE finders, not JOB finders:

A recruiter (in-house or agency) is REALLY not a job-finder. In fact, we’re kinda the exact opposite. We have a set number of very specific openings at any given time and we only hire one person per job. One. That means that the other 200-300 people that applied are not getting the job (a good recruiter will let you know that you didn’t get the job, but that’s another post for another day…) We are people finders, not job finders. We can’t help you find a job because we’re only really aware of the handful of jobs that we’re working on. We don’t know much about other openings out there because we’re laser-focused on filling the jobs on our own plate.

For close to ten years, I’ve been helping people find jobs by giving job-search advice, sharing social media tips, explaining the recruiting process, blogging about the job search process, tweeting relevant articles, and teaching essential networking skills for today’s jobseeker. As such, I now receive 20+ requests every day from people asking me to help them find a job. I’ve spent countless hours responding to requests, offering to help make LinkedIn introductions, sharing blog post links, and answering any specific questions, but I’m not able to do much beyond that. I want to help. I really do. But at the end of the day, I’m just not a job-finder.

The only job-finder out there is YOU.

If you are serious about finding your next position, you need to take matters into your own hands. Networking is great, but don’t blindly contact recruiters and ask them to help you find a job. It’s too broad and too nebulous. You need to be specific. If you want to reach out to recruiters as part of your job search, be targeted.

Three EFFECTIVE ways to network with recruiters:

  1. Apply online for a SPECIFIC position and THEN reach out to the appropriate recruiter to reiterate your interest. Reference the specific position and explain why you’re a perfect fit (but only if you ARE a perfect fit). What recruiter wouldn’t love to get the perfect candidate hand-delivered into their inbox? (This method works. I see it every single day.)
  2. If there’s a specific company that you’d really like to work for but they don’t have a relevant opening, then apply to their general database and then reach out to the recruiter (although the hiring team might be a better option, in my opinion). Let them know that you really love the company and would love to stay in touch about future openings. Engage with the company and/or recruiter on social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) and show that you’re passionate about the company/brand. The best companies want to hire employees that are a strong culture fit and seamless transition onto the team so stay present in their minds and you’ll only help your chances if/when a position becomes available. Heck, they might just create an opening for you. (This method worked for me!)
  3. Network with recruiters on LinkedIn and connect with as many as possible. Think about it: recruiters who hire for your field know hiring managers and other industry peers in your area and your line of work. When you connect with one recruiter, you suddenly grow your network by hundreds of relevant peers / potential hiring managers. It’s a fabulous opportunity to tap into a wealth of relevant industry connections for job search networking. Always think big picture.

I hope these tips are helpful to you. Sorry if I burst anyone’s bubble. Keep networking with recruiters… just do it more effectively. And remember that there’s no such thing as a job-finder!  🙂

By Stacy Donovan Zapar

Stacy Donovan Zapar is a 15-year recruiting veteran and CEO of Tenfold Social Training, a training / consulting company for recruiters and hiring teams. She is also the Most Connected Woman on LinkedIn with more than 36,000 first-level connections. She served as Technical Editor for Wiley’s LinkedIn Marketing: An Hour a Day and is a regularly-featured contributor on The Undercover Recruiter. Feel free to follow Stacy on Twitter @StacyZapar and connect with her on LinkedIn.